Friday, February 26, 2010

becoming a better interpreter

Professional interps reading this, forgive my stating of the obvious, but those of you movement types breaking in to interpreting, here's a tip:

I can't recommend enough the importance of videotaping yourself interpreting. At least do audio, but video is much better, and is so ubiquitous these days. It can be from a phone, an ipod or a flip (pictured at right. surprisingly cheap).

Get a friend to do film you, either next time you interpret for real, or just for practice. You'll realize all sorts of things that you're too busy or nervous to catch in the moment. Look at your rendition - given time to think about it is that how you would interpret it next time? But also look at your style. How is your tone, your face, your body language?

One of the things that makes a lot of inexperienced movement interps stand out is bad use of body language. For some reason a lot of untrained interps are uncomfortable holding a pad of paper, and then they don't know what to do with their hands when in front of a crowd. You know who you are!

One of the first things you learn in any interpreter training is the importance of always having a cuadernito. Figure out which kind you like, and always have one on you. Always. Think of it as your security blanket. Even if you never write anything down on it but numbers and names, you have something in your hands. Of course, for good consecutive you really need to be writing down much more than numbers and names, but that's another topic.

If you're in Colombia norma puts out a great little green cuadernito. 80 hojas rayadas. The classic one most interps in the US use is just a steno pad. You want it to be small enough to carry easily, but not so small you have to turn the pages during a segment of speech.
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